“I’m not afraid to die, I just don’t want to be there when it happens” (Woody Allen)


I’m not afraid to die, heck I’m just lucky to even be here. By almost any measure I should never have been born. The reality is that my father dodged death at least 3 times during WWII. The first time he got on the wrong truck during Marine Corps basic training and the truck he was assigned to went off the road and killed everybody on it. The second time he was supposed to be on the battleship West Virginia at Pearl Harbor in December of 1941 but he lost a bet and had to give his assignment to another Marine. The third time he was on the island of Guam and got malaria so bad he was hospitalized with a fever of 105 for 2 days. He survived all of this and made it back to marry my Mom and I was born in 1954.  Of course I never knew any of this stuff till the last few years when he finally started talking about the war. The only miracle I recognized was that after having 2 sisters born before me they still wanted to try again for a son. If you knew my second sister you would understand why I consider this a miracle.

The point is everything happens for a reason.  Most of the time the reasons aren’t made clear to us immediately. Some times they are never made clear to us at all.  It doesn’t change the fact that we all have a destiny. We can do great things by just trying.  In my Dad’s case, when he had malaria the other guys in his company probably saved his life by bringing buckets of cold water from the river to pour on him to keep his fever down. They did this for 48 hours straight and probably many of them were sick too.  I don’t know that he ever saw any of those guys after the war but he did make the most of his second chance at life. He is easily one of the most generous, selfless people I have ever known. He fulfilled his destiny and at the ripe old age of 88 he continues to do all that he can to make a difference.

It shouldn’t take a near death experience to make us all try harder.  Life isn’t lived by sitting on the couch. There are unlimited opportunities available to everyone to fulfill their destinies every day.  Even the smallest gestures or acts of kindness can ultimately save a life. It might even be your life. Maybe by giving of yourself , you will receive the positive affirmation that has been lacking in your life.  I have to believe that a bunch of dead tired, wounded and sick Marines felt pretty good when they saw my Dad walk out of that hospital on Guam.  Carrying buckets of water saved his life. How simple an act was that?

Everybody can carry water from the river to heal the sick.  There is no special talent required. You don’t have to have a college degree or years of training. You just have to want to help. Our common destiny as people on this earth is to find ways to help each other and peacefully coexist. Hatred and intolerance are the result of not trying hard enough. So no I’m not afraid to die. In fact I would amend that quote to be ” I’m not afraid to live and I do want to be there when it happens.” Because if you’re not really living you’re already dead.

©Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com, 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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